Well, after reviewing the results for the 2013 Canyon Ferry Walleye Festival you could say we weren’t much of defending champions. I can assure you it wasn’t from lack of trying and we were actually a lot closer to winning than you would think after scoring double zeros. Two big bites, which we have done a million times, would have brought the champion plaque home again.
After five days of pre-fishing with only a few sniffs, a guy would have to be crazy to keep doing what he’s been doing for game day. Unless it’s going big and “Jiggin’ the Dream” for the win of course. We knew going into the tournament with the low water, eight degree cooler water temp than usual and very few big fish left in the lake we were going to be taking a big chance pitching shallow. Especially after not catching one fish pitching shallow in five days of pre-fishing. In 2012, when we won the tournament, we had eight fish approaching and over ten pounds in three days of pre-fishing. We had so much confidence going into the tournament we were an unstoppable brute machine.
This year, the only fish we caught were in deep water (which we never do this time of year on CF) which we tried out of complete and utter boredom. In a couple hours of vertical jiggin’ we actually caught some decent fish, but not the studs we’re looking for. Looking back, if all went well we probably could have had a top ten finish going deep, but the Kit’s boys are in it to win it, baby!! Like my good friend and elite pro staff member Jim Muscat said, “Trev, I think it speaks highly of your commitment to your craft. Nobody ever hit a grand slam “playing it safe.” You boys shoot for the moon.”
With this being said, we still weighed zeros both days of the tournament. I’m already getting bombarded with “What the heks man??” I have just been shrugging and laughing it off…pitching shallow on the north end (even on a good year) can serve you a double dose of goose eggs. But if you’re looking to hit it out of the park, you got to be prepared to deal with striking out. We actually feel very good about the tournament; we stuck to our game plan and did the double “Johnson Jig” from bell to bell both days. We easily could have caved and gone deep just to put fish on the card, but this isn’t our style. If we were going to weigh fish, they were going to be the studs of the “Mean Sea Hag” known as Canyon Ferry. Cus nobody ever said “Riggin’ the Dream.”
It’s never fun taking a whoopin’, but when you’re with your dad and doing what you do best…it’s all good. And as we joked after, it wasn’t from lack of throwing our arms out of socket whizzing the glass minnows at the shore a million miles per hour. As always, my most sincere congrats to the top teams in this year’s tournament. It’s rare a deep water rigging bite will win the tournament, but the sun does shine on the bare spot of a dogs bum every once in a while;) The teams that made the decision to fish this way made the right choice and fished very hard. Every team that did well very much deserved their success in the 2013 Canyon Ferry Walleye Festival.
A Few of the Highlights from the Weekend:
1.) The people!! Man I love being surrounded by a bunch of fish heads!!
2.) Tom and Roxanne Tubbs!! One of the coolest husband and wife teams I know…these people are the “SALT OF THE EARTH.” After day one they were sitting in third place and Rox’s response to her success was “just out having fun like a couple of seven year old kids.” This should be an inspiration to every one of us!!
3.)Ken Schmidt and Mark Jones stayed with us for the weekend and what great company. These are some of the best sticks on the water…GURANTEED!! And talk about funny buggers, my neck muscles are still sore from laughing so hard. Knowing it was going to be a tough bite, Ken offered some great advice being an avid tournament angler. “You just have to go out and have fun man, the rest will take care of itself. No matter how good a fisherman you are, you’re going to have good ones and tough ones. These are the little things in life Trev.” Once again, another inspiration for all of us!!
4.) We saw a gator under the boat!! With carp swimming everywhere you don’t give them much attention. Drifting shallow over a point (very clear water) I looked down and said, “dad, there’s a giant pike under the boat” Dad ran up and we watched about a 42” very fat northern pike lying on the bottom. I dropped my glass minnow down and it bopped him right on the nose…unpleased, he looked up at us and slowly slinked off. He was so fat it looked like he had just engulfed a two pound rainbow trout.
(Written by Trevor Johnson of Kit’s Tackle; Photo: mnr.gov.on.ca)